VP, HR Digital Operations and Learning Solutions, Baxter
Every day, millions of patients, caregivers and healthcare providers rely on Baxter’s leading portfolio of diagnostic, critical care, kidney care, nutrition, hospital and surgical products used across patient homes, hospitals, physician offices and other sites of care. For 90 years, we’ve been operating at the critical intersection where innovations that save and sustain lives meet the healthcare providers who make it happen. With products, digital health solutions and therapies available in more than 100 countries, Baxter’s employees worldwide are now building upon the company’s rich heritage of medical breakthroughs to advance the next generation of transformative healthcare innovations.
In 2021, the Baxter Senior Leadership team initiated a companywide Digital Transformation that set out to change the way employees think and grow professionally, recognizing many new horizons of opportunity to continue bringing the most cutting-edge products, service, and technologies to patients and providers. To unlock this potential, Baxter had to continue building its offerings to meet the evolving healthcare landscape and differentiate itself by its digital capabilities – which required a new and diverse set of skills across the workforce. At the outset, Baxter’s leaders established that Digital Transformation is not about technology, it’s about employees. To this end, transforming employees through upskilling and reskilling became the focal point for growth.
To achieve Baxter’s digital aspirations, the company’s workstream was tasked with upskilling employees seamlessly. It was evident that framework needed to be established to achieve these goals and build a true culture of continuous learning.
To help orchestrate this program, Baxter partnered with Skillsoft for the content for Digital Transformation. The design was planned in close collaboration with Skillsoft in three parts: Learn–Share–Apply. The framework was designed to cover all aspects of upskilling an employee. Once established, the sub teams were formed to design each of the components.
The Digital Learning Adventure (DLA) was designed to be an app that provides training in a structured manner for all individuals. Learning topics were decided, and users were then given a series of questions designed to assess their corresponding level of knowledge. Based on responses, users were placed in one of three established learning paths.
The investment in employees is what made Baxter’s Digital Transformation successful. Baxter invested in programs that enabled transformation in digital topics. These upskilling programs, such as Skillsoft’s Percipio platform delivering courses and digital badges, were designed and rolled out in a thoughtful manner.
The success of the Digital Transformation initiative was not just in terms of reaching milestones, but how Baxter’s thinking has evolved and how that’s reflected in their products.
Communities of Practice (“COP”) were established using Yammer. Each COP was aligned to the different DLA topics.
The COPs were communicated to all users and created a lot of interest. As the courses were completed, the users joined communities and shared what they learned with their peers. The communities ensured continuity of the learning by hosting 3+ events monthly. The communities also connected team members at different levels of understanding to build mentoring, knowledge sharing, and the ability to ask a SME 'How To' complete a task or goal. Every community had a moderator and Senior Leadership sponsor to ensure the alignment and engagement with Digital Transformation goals.
The goal of the Digital Transformation was to change employee mindsets. Baxter is transforming digitally while keeping its mission in mind–To Save and Sustain Lives.
A key objective was to increase the digital quotient across Baxter based on successful upskilling efforts that are verified and not just self-identified.
Following the rollout of DLA, the completion across the company was about 72%. There was a friendly competition among the regions and APAC had 92% completion rate. The number of employees with basic digital skills (acquired by learning) far exceeded the internal goals. This was also amplified by the Workday Gigs pilot (which allowed employees to apply Digital skills) where 33 Digital Projects were identified with 238 qualified Gig Seekers. As Gigs are completed, the number of employees with Digital skills that are verified and approved by Gig hosts increases by the day. It is critical to note that these Gig seekers are from various business units.
The DLA was available to all employees via Baxter’s intranet, promoted and reinforced via CEO communications, and with promotional videos. Dashboards were created to track progress. The learning technology and badge delivery was delivered using a combination of Web pages and Skillsoft’s learning platform, Percipio.
The Communities of Practice were made available in Yammer The gig functionality through Workday was launched as a pilot and then kept due to the success.
Building an application that would engage the learners quickly was challenging. Several Baxter teams collaborated to develop a learning program that would meet each learner where they were and then elevating their knowledge base. One important aspect when developing the program was the accessibility of the application. The program was available for employees where they needed it and how they needed it, whether on their pc or mobile device.
Employees enjoyed the flexibility and “fun factor” in the application. There was excitement when a whole team earned their Skillsoft badges for completing all courses in a path. Employees proudly displayed their badges in various pages across Baxter.
The application and program resonated so strongly that teams are looking for additional phases/waves of learning that can be rolled out. The term DLA has become synonymous with effective learning program in Baxter. Most leaders and employees associate DLA with a concept that can be reused for an initiative.
Millions of patients, caregivers and healthcare providers rely daily on Baxter's leading portfolio of diagnostic, critical care, kidney care, nutrition, hospital and surgical products across patient homes, hospitals, physician offices and other care sites. For 90 years, we've operated at the intersection where innovations that save/sustain lives meet the healthcare providers.